Wednesday, March 16, 2011

People With No Names - The Undocumented #73

This oil on canvas is 30"x 40". It shows two deportees peeling and chopping eggplant to help prepare the meal served to their fellow deportees. It only took an hour or so, but as I helped, I thought that my hands were freezing and that their peelers were dull. To my embarrassment, I actually went into their tiny kitchen to ask if there were any other, sharper peelers. Seriously??!!! I just read an article in the Sunday New York Times about seasonal farm workers (who these deportees are aspiring to be) who "toil in the vast fields of Salinas Valley, cutting spinach and broccoli and packing romaine lettuce from a wet conveyor belt; nearly 13 heads a minute, 768 heads an hour, 10 hours a day." This article goes on to say that originally many immigrants "came to the United States in the 1960s through the federal "bracero" program that imported Mexican agricultural workers". We needed "arms" to harvest our crops. We also needed espaldas (backs). But it is never a good idea to view other human beings as mere useful bodies...divorced from their hearts, minds, spirits, intellects and families. More on that tomorrow.

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